July 19, 2012 § 5 Comments
Today’s 9th act of the 101 revolutionary ways to be healthy is “Safegaurd Your Juju: Don’t let yourself get run down, depressed, negative or reactive. That’s when immunity drops, inflammation rages, and unhealthy tendencies strike.”
I was reminded of this last week. Grief has a vengeance. Just when you think things are starting to get better (note that better is relative) grief rears its ugly horns.
I was on the road for meetings. I’ve come to welcome trips these past few months. They provide me a good distraction to my personal life and give me that extra bit of motivation I need. But last week, something went wrong. I remember last year when my friend died someone telling me to deal with the grief head on, that these things have a way of showing up unexpectedly. Last week I was reminded of this.
Day 1 was great. Meetings went great. Everything was good.
Day 2 started great. But slowly throughout the day I could feel myself getting run down. I went to dinner with friends and while my spirits were lifted, I got back to the hotel only to cry myself to sleep. The reality that my dad is truly gone sinks in a little more every day. And for some reason it hit me last Wednesday as I sat in that hotel room by myself.
Thursday morning I couldn’t move. Literally. I had no strength. Just getting dressed was an ordeal. I had meetings starting early. It seemed to take so much effort just to speak a few words. I was emotionally drained. I haven’t felt that bad physically in a long time. I left my meetings early to try and catch an earlier flight but I wasn’t so lucky with the flight gods and had to sit at the airport for hours, waiting. Eventually I broke down. Crying in the airport. A very crowded airport I should add. I didn’t even care.
Once home, I was sure I was sick. Mono was apparently going around at the office. I began stressing about everything I was going to have to rearrange at work if I was out. But I was pleased to find that after a night of sleep in my own bed, next to my husband and my dog, I was better. It was a reminder to me how extreme sadness can truly effect your health.
Being healthy isn’t limited to just what you eat and how many times you exercise. You need to safeguard your juju – your total health of mind, body, and spirit.
Each morning, I make a point to defend my juju with a smoothie. I used to make this berry power smoothie a lot but have since stopped adding the oatmeal and nut butter. Basically I just throw in frozen berries, water, almond milk, chia seeds, maca, raw cacao, and bee pollen (note there is some controversy over whether or not bee pollen is vegan).
Every day I make this smoothie, my day seems to be a bit brighter – I honestly miss it when I’m on the road. It’s my way of affirming to myself that I take my health, and my juju, seriously.
April 17, 2012 § 18 Comments
I have been thinking about writing this post for weeks now. I’ve started drinking smoothies for breakfast and have finally found my perfect mix of ingredients that I’ve been dying to share here. This smoothie is so jam packed full of wholesome goodness – energizing, filling, substantial ingredients – it will have you ready to do cartwheels with your last sip. I promise!
This recipe came to be kind of by accident. My masseuse (the reason I’m mostly vegan) had been telling me to try and incorporate maca powder and bee pollen into my meals for energy. Maca powder is known for its energizing and balancing qualities. Bee pollen is also known to be an energy miracle – this blog post does an excellent job explaining its many qualities.
Like a good student – I went to Whole Foods and bought both ingredients. But one smell of maca powder and I couldn’t figure out how I’d ever get this down. (Supposedly red maca which you can buy online has a more mild flavor but I’ve yet to try it). At the time, I was making my morning oatmeal. But incorporating these into my warm bowl of oats just wasn’t going to work.
Then one day I figured I’d give it a try in a smoothie. I knew that pretty much everything I put in my oatmeal: oats, almond milk, nut butter, chia seeds, and fruit could go in a smoothie. A few days of tinkering with the ingredients and I’ve landed on this which I’ve been making ever since. In fact, the reason I decided to finally write it down – aside from wanting to share it here – is because I made it for a friend recently who loved it so much she wanted the recipe.
You’d think the oats and chia seed lend a lumpy texture to the smoothie but it’s just the opposite. Just blend on high for a few minutes and your left with a frothy, thick and creamy delicious drink. Loaded with fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, and minerals – it has everything to get you started and keep you balanced throughout the day. As I said, the main reason I started making these was to hide the maca and bee pollen (note bee pollen is not vegan and you can leave it out if you wish) – mission accomplished. All I taste is clean goodness.
The last note on this is there’s really no no need for measuring. The last thing I want to do in the morning is get out my measuring cups. Don’t bother with that and just drop in all your wholesome goodies, add enough liquid, and blend it up. If your blender catches, you just need more liquid. Use whatever you have on hand. Don’t have one of the ingredients below? Leave it out – no sweat.
Gather – blend – enjoy!
Berry Power Blast Smoothie
I make this smoothie with lots of berries. I prefer frozen as they are more economical and are easy to keep on hand but you can use fresh if you like. I will also throw in any other fruit I have if I need to use it up.
Both the maca and bee pollen are strong flavors. You may opt to try smaller amounts first and work towards higher amounts as you adjust to the flavors. Additionally, you can add as much raw cacao as you like depending on how chocolatey you’d like your smoothie.
Makes 1 very large smoothie, or 2 smaller smoothies
- 2 cups frozen fruit (I like a mixture of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and some mango for sweetness)
- 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 cup non dairy milk (I prefer vanilla flavored almond milk)
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2 tbsp nut butter (I prefer peanut butter but also use almond butter)
- 1 tbsp raw cacao
- 1 tsp maca
- 1/2 tsp bee pollen (can be left out to be truly vegan)
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high speed for several minutes until smooth.
January 20, 2012 § 3 Comments
Ok, first things first, the fact that we can even call this breakfast – and a healthy one at that – is crazy. But I kid you not. What you’re looking at is a scrumptious, chocolatey, nutty, and yes, healthy, bowl of oats that will start your day off right.
We all know the health benefits of oatmeal but I had never really cared for it. I spent my whole life thinking I didn’t like oatmeal but now I realize that I just never had it prepared properly. Now I literally can’t wait to get up and have my morning oatmeal.
In general, I mix it up and make what I have on hand. A few staples include vanilla flavored almond milk and chia seeds (If you’ve never had chia seeds, they are loaded with omega 3 and essentially tasteless). Other than that, it’s free game. I throw in fresh cut apples, bananas, pear, berries, nuts, and my secret ingredient: peanut or almond butter.
One day I decided to try and add in some raw cacao and that’s how this concotion came to be. It is my absolute favorite combo yet and provides a super powerful, nutrient dense breakfast. The raw cacao creates not only a dense chocolatey delight, but provides powerful antioxidants and minerals.
(Bonus for the ladies: if it’s that time of the month, make this for breakfast! The minerals in the raw cacao are essential for your body and help reduce cramping.)
Caution: eating such a delicious, nutritious breakfast may make you abnormally sweet for the day 🙂
Chocolatey Banana and Oats
A note on this recipe: this creates a velvety rich chocolate bowl of oats. If you aren’t as big a fan of the chocolate, just use less. Try a few times and find what amount you like. The below isn’t hard fast measurements. Just throw in what works for you. If you want your oatmeal drier – add more oats, for a wetter oatmeal, add more milk.
- 1/2 cup vanilla flavored almond milk
- several dashes cinnamon
- 1 tbsp almond butter or peanut butter
- 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp raw cacao
- 1/2 banana, sliced
- nuts of your choice – I like raw walnuts and almonds
- Heat the milk on high with several dashes of cinnamon in a small saucepan several minutes until steaming. Once steaming, turn the heat off and stir in the nut butter.
- In your breakfast bowl, pour in the oats, chia seeds, and cacao. Top with the milk mixture and stir. Add banana and nuts and serve.